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Catastrophic Success

As if there weren't enough political opinionating out there, I, too, now sing the body bloglectric. Let me FEED you![XML]

Location: United States

Monday, January 31, 2005

Iraqi Crispian Day

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
Make him a member of the gentry, even if he is a commoner.
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3

The Iraqi elections are a day of honor for all 8 and half million who participated. Those who painted their fingers shall proudly, henceforth, be able to proclaim that they founded their country anew. Those who feared the blade, gun and bomb of the terrorist will hold his internal shame that better men and women than he braved the spectre of death to give voice to their choices on Iraq's first true election day. Despite the braying of the liberal jackasses who could not see the good through their own fear or refusal to credit anything in relation to Bush's actions with goodness could not drown out the joy, the blessings and the honor Iraqis will grant to January 30, 2005. How dare we, as Americans, who must only contend with a few faulty machines or a butterfly ballot or just the inconvenience of altering our daily lives to impede with our exercise of our civil sacrament, cast aspersions on those who faced the real risk of being blown up by an idiot with a bomb strapped to his chest? Despicable.

Jim Treacher posts 1,000 words on the power, importance and effect of Iraq's first election. Profound indeed.

Unlike the fighters at Agincourt, those who did not vote today can gain some of the glory and prestige in October this year when Iraqis will vote to ratify the Constitution that Allawi and his new duly-elected government will create, such duty they have been charged with, and again in January next when the government created by said Constitution will be voted in. Glory and Honor to those who voted, and Good Will and Grace to those who must now create a new country from whole cloth. May the wisdom of our Founding Fathers be of benefit to Iraq's new Founders.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


It wasn't without its pain, and suffering, but for the most part, the Iraqis accomplished something grand and momentous in their history. I hope that the new government honors its assigned duties and executes the creation of a new and fair Constitution and turns power over when it is time for the new permanent government to take over. The peaceful transition of power is the most defining moment in a democracy. I suspect that the Iraqis, having finally tasted freedom, will pass with flying colors.

Friday, January 28, 2005


What a week for the hit count! 56 hits in one week with a spike on Tuesday to 16 (the first day I posted the list of Blogburst participants to my sidebar) up from 2 on Sunday and 3 on Monday. Mostly it was people following the new links in their Technorati or Blog Ecosystem reports. Dropped to 12 on Wednesday as more referral checks came in, back up to 15 yesterday - the day of the actual blogburst and down to 8 today. 56 links for the whole week. A new record I think. I expect traffic to die down to more reasonable levels *cough* in the next few days. I participated in the blogburst because I believe in remembering the horrible events in our past to prevent their recurrence in the future, but it isn't too shameful to be glad of the new readership. Hopefully, I'll garner a few more regular readers from the whole thing. It'd be nice to get The Peoria Pundit's numbers, let alone The Diplomad's!

Speaking of The Diplomad, (convenient, huh?) The Diplomad left me a comment! The Diplomad left me a comment! The Diplomad left me a comment!
WOOHOO!!! With a compliment, no less! I feel honored. The folks over there are well on their way to becoming blog super-stars.

Couple of interesting links: Man pisses his way out of an avalanche. This is why its always a good idea to carry beer in the car. "I'm sorry officer, I'm just getting ready for an avalanche..."

Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains.

He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out.

But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through.

He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported.

Scientists claim to have created part-human, part-animal chimeras.

Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells.

In Minnesota last year researchers at the Mayo Clinic created pigs with human blood flowing through their bodies.

And at Stanford University in California an experiment might be done later this year to create mice with human brains.

"Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?" "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!"

Cool sites on Bozo the Clown and WGN-TV's kids programming (as research for a comment elsewhere:
Clown Ministry
Wikipedia Entry
WGN.com used to have a GREAT Bozo history page, but they have sadly taken it down. Bozo was cancelled in 2001, so I guess they don't want any reminders of the bastion of children's television they once were, as now they are attempting to be both a respectable television network, replete with its own news department, and a purveyor of fine sappy teenage melodrama (Gee Thanks WB!)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Blogburst - Wannsee Conference and Liberation of Auschwitz

The Holocaust, symbolized by Auschwitz, the worst of the death camps, occurred in the wake of consistent, systematic, unrelenting anti-Jewish propaganda campaign. As a result, the elimination of the Jews from German society was accepted as axiomatic, leaving open only two questions: when and how.

As Germany expanded its domination and occupation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, France, the Low Countries, Yugoslavia, Poland, parts of the USSR, Greece, Romania, Hungary, Italy and others countries, the way was open for Hitler to realize his well-publicized plan of destroying the Jewish people.

After experimentation, the use of Zyklon B on unsuspecting victim was adopted by the Nazis as the means of choice, and Auschwitz was selected as the main factory of death (more accurately, one should refer to the “Auschwitz-Birkenau complex”). The green light for mass annihilation was given at the Wannsee Conference, January 20, 1942, and the mass gassings took place in Auschwitz between 1942 and the end of 1944, when the Nazis retreated before the advancing Red Army. Jews were transported to Auschwitz from all over Nazi-occupied or Nazi-dominated Europe and most were slaughtered in Auschwitz upon arrival, sometimes as many as 12,000 in one day. Some victims were selected for slave labour or “medical” experimentation. All were subject to brutal treatment.

In all, between three and four million people, mostly Jews, but also Poles and Red Army POWs, were slaughtered in Auschwitz alone (though some authors put the number at 1.3 million). Other death camps were located at Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec (Belzek), Majdanek and Treblinka.

Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army on 27 January 1945, sixty years ago, after most of the prisoners were forced into a Death March westwards. The Red Army found in Auschwitz about 7,600 survivors, but not all could be saved.

For a long time, the Allies were well aware of the mass murder, but deliberately refused to bomb the camp or the railways leading to it. Ironically, during the Polish uprising, the Allies had no hesitation in flying aid to Warsaw, sometimes flying right over Auschwitz.

There are troubling parallels between the systematic vilification of Jews before the Holocaust and the current vilification of the Jewish people and Israel. Suffice it to note the annual flood of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN; or the public opinion polls taken in Europe, which single out Israel as a danger to world peace; or the divestment campaigns being waged in the US against Israel; or the attempts to delegitimize Israel’s very existence. The complicity of the Allies in WW II is mirrored by the support the PLO has been receiving from Europe, China and Russia to this very day.

If remembering Auschwitz should teach us anything, it is that we must all support Israel and the Jewish people against the vilification and the complicity we are witnessing, knowing where it inevitably leads.

The meeting at Wannsee established the mechanism for "the final solution" -- shipment of Jews to eastern labor and death camps -- as the official policy of the Third Reich. Ever efficient and unashamed, the Nazi kept a record of the meeting, which were discovered in 1947 in the files of the German Foreign Office.

The conference addressed every aspect of Nazi genocide in chillingly ordinary logic and language, e.g., " Europe will be combed through from West to East," "forcing the Jews out of the various spheres of life of the German people." Ever efficient, the participants foresaw that, "[i]n the course of the final solution and under appropriate direction, the Jews are to be utilized for work in the East in a suitable manner. In large labor columns and separated by sexes, Jews capable of working will be dispatched to these regions to build roads, and in the process a large number of them will undoubtedly drop out by way of natural attrition."

The minutes reflect an intention to dispose of "roughly eleven million Jews." This figure was derived after a horrifyingly detailed discussion of those with only partial Jewish ancestry, sparing some only a quarter Jewish, and magnanimously exempting others from evacuation only if "sterilized in order to prevent any progeny . . . Sterilization will be voluntary, but it is the precondition for remaining in the Reich."

Many conference participants survived the war to be convicted at Nuremberg. The conference, and the bureaucratic sounding murderous minutes, provide a prototypical example of Hannah Arendt's Banality of Evil.

[Begin Personal Reflection]

I believe that the blogosphere has brought Israel's most vocal and articulate allies out of the woodwork and has recruited its next generation already. Indeed, people who were indifferent are more and more taking a stand for Israel and for the Jewish people so that we may join them in crying "NEVER AGAIN!" Never Again, though, means Never Again Anywhere to Anybody. I must believe that the lessons of the Holocaust have been learned by Americans (and especially Jews) to the extent that it could not happen to them again, and I believe we are enlightened enough to never let it happen to anyone again. I just wish Europe would look at their own history and STOP IGNORING THE PAST. A resurgence of anti-semitism is alive and well in Europe today. I will give my voice in all its power (whatever that may be) to add to the cry "NEVER AGAIN!" I know others will join me, and we shan't have another Holocaust in my lifetime.

Frankly, the whole concept of the Holocaust scares the crap out of me. I can't quite get my brain around the truths one would have to hold self-evident to allow one to blithely order and commit the grisly murder and enslavement of millions of fellow humans. It begins I know, with ascribing a subset of humans with a sub-human status. I understand the allure of this.

I must admit to having very briefly held the thought "We ought to bomb those death-loving jihadists into their greatest desire," but I know that the cost of doing so is to also kill the far greater numbers of Arabs and Muslims who don't march to jihad with a bomb strapped to their chest merrily whistling a martyr's hymn. Frankly it just isn't in our interest to do so, nor is it in our character. Nagasaki and Hiroshima ended what would have been a long protracted battle on the shores of Japan that would have cost both sides tens of thousands of lives. That just isn't the case here. This is not the Emporer's Army and Navy fighting and dying for empire. These are a small but very loud contingent of the people, most of whom, I suspect, just want to be left alone to go to work, provide for their families and feel safe.

So it is an easy path to follow as soon as you decide to disengage your brain from your life. Feelings of vengeance, hate, powerlessness and fear are natural. What separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom is our innate ability to use our brains to reason through a problem or think above our emotions. It is unconscionable to fail to use the brain you were born with to examine the inconsistencies put forth by those who would do hateful acts on your behalf. It is impossible to believe that "Jews are of substandard intelligence" and "Jews are secretly running every facet of world politics with their diabolical genius and their money" are both true at the same time. Just as it is impossible to believe both that "George Bush is a moron who couldn't put on his shoes unaided, even if they were velcro" and that "George Bush is an evil genius bent on world domination." The Palestinians suffer from this failure to reject the cognitive dissonance required to believe half the things that vile Imams spew about them today. Frankly, if I were a Palestinian forced to live in the squalor that is life under the Palestinian Authority and I could look across a border (well, over a wall anyway) and see a thriving, peaceful, affluent and democratic nation where the standard of living is so high above my own that the very comparison is worthless, I may just think those dirty stinking Zionist infidels may be on to something and that maybe, just maybe, Allah would want me to be happy and successful through my own actions.

I must credit the people of this great nation for not falling prey to the viral thought processes that would lead to a shameful action that would poison any real power we have in the Middle East. I think we could stand to use more force, but I applaud George Bush for his more moderated approach to the Battle of Iraq. He understands that we must break the Middle East in order that it may be stronger for the reconstruction, but that we must be ABLE to help reconstruct that and,as is our ideal, we can only do so with the consent of the people. If we had turned the Middle East into so much shiny glass, those who remained would forever be our enemy.

The current War on Terror, as waged in Afghanistan and Iraq has been the painful, itchy smallpox vaccination that will forever leave a scar on the arm, but will prevent the very fatal and more painful disease. We have injected Afghanistan and Iraq (in three days time) with the Totalitarian Vaccination. It turns out that those at risk of contracting Totalitarianism seem to build antibodies to it as they are exposed in larger quantities to Democracy Virus. Democracy spreads by word-of-mouth, freedom of the press and brain-to-brain contact. Sometimes the introduction of the Democracy Virus to a population requires a fair amount of pain, but the antibodies take firmer hold where that is the case.

It is my hope that as Democracy spreads, its entire family of viruses will spread with it. Where Democracy thrives, Freedom of Thought is always found, as is Freedom of Speech. With those two around, Freedom of Religion is seen in greater numbers. Those three together always seem to spontaneously mutate into the sub-viruses Rationality, Rule of Law and Prosperity. Its high time the Middle East was infected. Israel has been the sole carrier of these benevolent viruses for far too long. I expect peace in the Middle East in my lifetime. A culture of death sows the seeds of its own demise, whereas a culture of life reproduces itself indefinitely.

Let's give the Middle East (and the rest of world while we're at it) an epidemic of Democracy!

Regarding the Wannsee Conference, HBO has made two films centering around it: "Conspiracy," starring Stanley Tucci, is the truly historical one, with much of the dialogue taken from the actual transcripts of the Conference itself. It is wonderfully acted and it is powerful indeed seeing the upper echelon of the Nazi Party and the German War Machine talking about the best way to enact a "Final Solution" with no more concern than in an argument about which restaurant to go to for lunch.

"Fatherland," starring Rutger Hauer is actually based off a novel by Robert Harris set in an alternate history at the 75th birthday of the Fuhrer as the US and Greater Germany are seeking detente. The Wannsee Conference and the Final Solution are never public knowledge. Hauer's character begins to find the information, including the transcripts, as he investigates a series of murders (of those men who were there). I never saw the movie, but I read the book and it was a hell of a good read. Great mystery too.

[End Personal Reflection]

List of Blogburst Participants:

A Photo Journey

Alicio i Underlandet

Alpaca Burger Forum

American On Line

Army Wives Serve with Pride


At Level Ground


Barbara's Musings

Bellus Bellum


Blog Gig

Blog Willy No



Cao's Blog

Captain Mainline

Catastrophic Success

Chimera's Ponderings and Wanderings

Christian Action For Israel

Clarity and Resolve

Crossing the Rubicon2

Crusader War College

Crystal Clear

CUANAS (Christians United Against the New Anti-Semitism)

Daily Inklings

DANEgerus weblog

Dare to Inquire: Weblog of a Wondering Jew

David Frankfurter

democrats give conservatives indigestion



Dr. Forbush Thinks

Dreams Into Lightning

Dust My Broom


Earl's log

Elder of Ziyon

Elegance Against Ignorance

Enter Stage Right

Eurabian Times

Freudian Slippers

Friends of Micronesia


Grandma's House


Harald Tribune

Hasidic Gentile

Heretics' Almanac

Hey Karen

History Rules. But this will do for now.


I Dream, Therefore I Am


il Gabibbo


Inland Empress

Blog Israelnetdaily


It Is What It Is

It's Almost Supernatural


Jerusalem Posts

Jerusalem, G-D'S Eternal City

Josef's Public Journal


Kosher Eucharist

Leaning Right


Life in the Ghetto

Life More Abundant


Locham Yisrael

Mere Rhetoric

Middle East Facts

Mugged by Reality

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy

Mystery Achievement

Mystical Paths

National News Register

Netiher here nor there

News for Members of the Tribe


No Oil For Pacifists

Noreen's Knit*che

Ogre's Politics and Views

Okie on the LAM - in LA

Pajama Pundits

Pardon My English

Paul and Carls daily diatribe

Peace For Our Time

Plum Blossoms

Poisoning Pigeons

Pretensions of Competency



Rabbi Jason A. Miller's Blog

Ramblings of a Roman Wanderer

Random Observer

Ravings of a Mad Tech

Res Publica 2004

Rite Turn Only


Serenity Through Hope Ministries

Setting The World To Rights

Simulev - Swedish anti-Israel bias!

Sky Watching My World

Slant Point


Smooth Stone

Snugg Harbor

Soccer Dad


Something... and Half of Something

Somewhere on A1A

Sounding the Trumpet

Spiced Sass


Sweet Rose

Tampa Bay Primer

Tex The Pontificator


The Baby Seal Club

The Bad Hair Blog

The Blog from the Core

The Blue Maple Leaf

The Chainik Hocker

The Commons at Paulie World

The Conservative

The Crusader

The Farkhole

The Hidden Nook

The House Of Wheels

The Key Monk

The Lion of Judah

The Moderate Voice

The Original Musings

The Owner's Manual

The Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill

The Raphi's Zionist Site

The Redhunter

The Secret Life of Shoes

The Steiner Aid

The Truth about Israel

Theodore's World

Think Israel

This Vehicle Makes Wide Right Turns

To Protect Our Heritage PAC

Uncle Jack

United Right

Vox Felisi

While yet within the heart

White Pebble

Willow Tree


Yeah, Right, Whatever

Yesha Speaks Out

Yeshayah 62:1

Zibibbo is Good

Full list is at Blogburstinfo.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


I would have posted more yesterday, but I was too depressed...

Monday, January 24, 2005

I'm shovelling out of a blizzard! Where the hell is global warming?

Apparently, Michael McCarthy of the Independent has not read State of Fear by Michael Crichton.

He buys hook, line and sinker a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research in the UK, the Center for American Progress in the US, and The Australia Institute (not exactly the most moderate organizations) that won't be released until tomorrow.

Among other things, it calls for the G8 and Australia to move 25% of their electricity production to "renewable energy" sources by 2025 and a CO2 share-trading scheme first proposed in the failed Kyoto treaty.

Steven Den Beste went to great lengths to explain why it was not possible, at this point in time, with the knowledge we have today or can expect in the future, to reduce dependence on petroleum (which is what a move to "renewable energy sources" means) in any significant amount. It just won't happen. Because it can't happen.

In addition it claims that ten years from now we will likely pass the point of no return, beyond which global warming is sure to cause drastic climate change is unavoidable, ranging from the melting of the Greenland ice sheet (unlikely) and the Western Antarctic ice sheet (while the remainder of Antarctic ice gets thicker as it has been for years) causing ocean levels to rise 10 meters or more (even though it doesn't appear to have moved much more than centimeters, not that anyone can get a solid fix on it now).

It states that by 2015, "Global Temperature" will likely have risen to the crucial 2 degrees Centigrade above the 1750 median (used as a benchmark since meteorology was at its peak of knowledge then and its attendent instrumentation has never been improved upon ... - actually because that is dubbed the end of the pre-industrial era, somewhat arbitrarily I think) necessary to cause the world to end, essentially. Currently we have already raised the temperature .8 degrees from 1750 levels, leaving only 1.2 degrees until global shutdown. Why it took 255 years to raise it .8 degrees and will only take a little more than ten (as claimed in the pre-release press release) to raise it 1.5 times that, I'm uncertain. See that's not explained. They just issue the dire threats and hope everyone throws their hands up and says "Oh Lawdy, Massa Enviahmentalist! Please don't let me die, suh! Take all my cars and money and whatevah you needs, suh! Just let me live!"

Here is the same nihilism we heard all throughout the eighties as Ed Begley, Jr. and Ted Danson were on TV announcing that by 1998 there would be no fish left in the ocean.

Also, CO2 will probably reach the dangerously high concentration of 400 parts per million, up from 379 parts per million. Raising CO2 concentrations to 0.04 percent from .0379 percent, in ten years. Which will usher in Ragnarok. Personally, I'm willing to wait them out. I'm calling their bluff. I don't think they know what the hell they are talking about. Why not? Did I mention they are not scientists?

IPPR says they "ha[ve] over 40 in-house policy specialists. We regularly contribute pieces to national and specialist press and are used frequently on radio, television and in print as commentators on public policy and social trends."

American Progress has this on their About Us page:
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure our national policies reflect these values. Our policy and communications efforts are organized around four major objectives:

• developing a long term vision of a progressive America,
• providing a forum to generate new progressive ideas and policy proposals,
• responding effectively and rapidly to conservative proposals and rhetoric with a thoughtful critique and clear alternatives, and
• communicating progressive messages to the American public.

Non-partisan... riiiiight. Today's headlines include: "Rumsfeld's Dirty Little Secret," "Conservative Rhetoric or Reality," "Abortion as a Moral Decision." It's funny, I don't see "Barbara Boxer: Nutjob or Moonbat" or "How the War on Terror is Good for the Environment."

TAI operates with this philosophy:
The Institute was launched in 1994 to develop and conduct research and policy analysis and to participate forcefully in public debates. In addition, the Institute undertakes research and analysis commissioned and paid for by government, business, unions and community organisations. Those involved in the Institute have each, from different viewpoints, been concerned about the impact on Australian society of the priority given to a narrow definition of economic efficiency over community, environmental and ethical considerations in public and private decision making. A better balance is urgently needed.

Private markets, while effective at encouraging efficiency in many circumstances, frequently fail to reflect adequately the ethical, social and environmental priorities of the community. Governments must provide the appropriate institutional framework in which private markets operate so as to ensure that they contribute to justice, equity and sustainability as well as efficiency. Market outcomes are not value free and the Institute reasserts the place of ethics in making public and private decisions.

That last is their money graf. Government knows better than the people. We intend to see that this is borne out through as much restriction and regulation as the market can bear, plus ten percent.

This is a fluff piece to give the looney left more hay for their "Bush and Co. are EVIL and bad for the environment and women and puppies!!!" strawmen since Kyoto has gone away for good. The article is full of dire warnings (using phrasing like "More ominously still...") and depressing statistics. It's also full of crap.

From the article: "The report, Meeting The Climate Challenge, is aimed at policymakers in every country, from national leaders down. It has been timed to coincide with Tony Blair's promised efforts to advance climate change policy in 2005 as chairman of both the G8 group of rich countries and the European Union."

This is key to me right here. The report is aimed at policy makers to get them to MAKE POLICY to enact this hare-brained pseudo-science without the benefit of scientific peer review to vet any of their claims. This article makes the case for the need of scientific review when it states that the report is the first to put any timeline on the point of no return (10 years or 1.2 degrees C hence). It is telling that they aim the report at politicians who are more likely to fall for the breathless prose rather than scientist who just want to see the data. To make this case more they had politicians Senator Olympia Snowe-Flake (R-INO) and former transportation secretary Stephen Byers chairing the "task force" and using words like "timebomb" and "stable climate" (a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one).

I don't know why I wasted so much space on it. Maybe I'll come back in ten years as the flesh is melting from my bones and Pestilence rides his lathered horse through my home and I'll cry out "Why didn't I listen? Why was I a fool?" Or maybe I will just laugh as I swim in my inground pool as I live it up at the mansion I built with the money that poured in once my blog was discovered and Hollywood beat a path to my door begging me to write them trite syrupy romance movies and explosive laden action flicks and exploding-syrup-laden action romance flickies. Sorry. I got distracted by my French maid! What was I saying? Oh yeah, treehuggers are nutty.

UPDATE (1/26/05): I beat The Diplomad to the story, but he beats the crap outta me with his analysis. Open the windows and crank the AC!!!

Friday, January 21, 2005

SDB Watch

Steven Den Beste has been spotted at Eternity Road debating the connotative and denotative meaning of war. Interesting discussion and it is continued in a separate entry here.

Michael Powell to go fishing with father!!!

Actually, Michael Powell, son of soon-to-be-former Secretary of State Colin Powell will soon announce that he will step down as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He has two years left to his term, but, for undisclosed reasons and at an undisclosed time (just soon according to the AP), he will announce his resignation. Now who's gonna bitch about seeing Janet Jackson's breast? It sure as hell won't be me!

I hope he and his dad enjoy some quality time together out of the media spotlight and somewhere they won't be called Uncle Tom, murderer, or "[p]ompous and imperious, an ideologue". Maybe they can take the boat out, throw back a couple of cold ones and pull in some keepers.

Maybe, now some realism will creep back in to the FCC. I don't particularly want my three-year-old to watch R-rated movies, so I take steps to prevent that from happening. I would never use the phrase "exposed to R-rated movies (or whatever)" because they are not exposed to them by some dirty guy in a trench coat. They would be "exposed to" such things only if I or my wife were not doing our jobs as parents. Just because I have decided to prevent my children from watching certain things, playing certain games, hearing certain words doesn't mean that I don't enjoy watching those things, playing those games and USING those words.

To quote Robert Henlein < aside>I'm only just discovering Heinlein. I wish someone would have clued me in to what I was missing. < /aside> in "The Man Who Sold the Moon:
"The whole principle is wrong; it's like demanding that grown men live
on skim milk because the baby can't eat steak."

I can't stand it when a politico doesn't think that I can handle seeing a breast for .8 second on television or that my children will be forever spoiled to see ordinary citizens carrying guns, or frankly, a building being blown up in a video game. No I can't control the commercials that come on, but if I decide my daughter should not see a commercial, I have a perfectly working remote control. I can certainly change the channel. Or, god forbid, turn my television OFF. All I'm saying is that just because I can't afford a nanny (no matter how tall, busty, stupid and Swedish she is) I don't want one provided for me. I certainly don't need one for my children.

I suspect though that whoever is appointed to FCC Chairman will be more of a moral, if unlikely, crusader than Powell was.

I suspect that Hot Rod Blagojevich (Illinois' Governor for those of you unfamiliar with my neck of the cold, cold woods) is ready to jump on whatever "save the children from the evil filth-peddlers!" campaign that Powell's successor (almost inevitably) leads. He proposed legislation about two weeks ago to ban the sale of Mature-rated video games to minors in the state of Illinois. So stupid for so many reasons. The fact is that most minors can not afford to shell out the $50 to buy a new video game on their own anyway (at least until they are 16 and can get a job), and so their parents are usually the source of the necessary revenue to purchase the games. I would venture to say that most games minors receive are in some fashion given to them. Oftentimes, their parents either buy the game for them or are in the store while they purchase it. It is the parent's responsibility to prevent the sale in the first place, but so many parents still treat video games (and comic books I might add) as kid stuff and don't realize that certain games are meant only for adults. Nothing in this law prevents a clueless parent from purchasing a Mature-rated game and giving it to his or her child for Christmas, birthdays, etc. Even if the parents are hip to that stuff (as I am), the same does not go for obliging, but unaware, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. This law basically lets Rod claim that he has done something to protect the children without doing a damn thing to "protect the children." Unless he plans to make it illegal to also GIVE a child such a game, he may as well piss into the wind for all the good it will do.

I expect myself to be a responsible parent. That comes with certain duties. They are not always easy, but they are certainly necessary. I expect the same of other parents with regard to their children and, furthermore, I expect them to expect it of me. I do not need the government telling me what forms of entertainment are off-limits to me because my children might be affected. I don't buy the violence in the media argument. If it were true, it would be provable that there has been a DRAMATIC increase in the level of violence (in empirical numbers) since the advent of mass media. We had two major World Wars in the time that mass media consisted of newspapers, film and radio. Now you want to tell me that my TV and my Nintendo breed violence? I don't think so.

*pant pant* Enough soapboxing. I think my point is made. I will be watching with interest to see who the new FCC Chair will be and how he or she will conduct him or herself.

Schadenfreude Moment of the Day II

Brian Becker, National Coodinator of ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), on the stage protesting Bush's Second Inauguration:

"Today is a workday for all of those lucky enough to still have a job after four years of George W. Bush [slight delay] and Wall Street"

[Crowd Cheers]

"How many of you took off [of] work to be here today?"

[Large portion of Crowd cheers]

"How many of you are looking for work?"

[About 3 people half-heartedly cheer]

"Oh, a much smaller group [stammer] Well that's good."

[He then moves on to a chant of "Sexist! Racist! Anti-Gay! Bush and Cheney go away!"]

Via Laura Ingraham this morning about 15 minutes or so into hour 2 today.

Everything in brackets, of course, is my desription of the crowd reaction or of Becker's speaking.

So either, the jobless hippies were not looking for jobs, were being awfully quiet or didn't show up. It could even be, as Laura Ingraham postulates, even the hippies have jobs now. "Now that's what I call a full employment economy!" she said.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Coolest Keyboard EVAR!

This is a pretty nifty Ergonomic Keyboard, but it costs $299, plus another $89 for the foot pedal. That's Right. I said FOOT. PEDAL. Hellz YA!

You drive your computer!

Terry Goodkind uses it to write the Sword of Truth books. Pretty high recommendation to me.


I don't know if I could use it, but ... IwantitIwantitIwantit.

Schadenfreude Moment of the Night

Moorewatch reports that the Moore story from this morning is apparently too good to be true. According to a note sent to them from the employer of Patrick Burk, the subject of the story:

1. Patrick Burk was once assigned to protect Moore, but was never "his" bodyguard. He was not working for Moore at the time.

2. The gun was legally registered, Burk was just not licensed to carry a gun in New York.

3. The gun was locked, unloaded and in his luggage.

However, as Moorewatch comments, it's still hypocritical of Moore to value his person so much that he would hire a bodyguard, but would yet think it unconscionable that you might so value your life that you would want to carry or own a weapon to protect that life from those who wish to destroy it.

As for the issue that we raised, the hypocrisy of Moore ... [ellipsis in original] in my opinion it still stands. It goes back to the first time we heard that Moore was hiring armed guards. He considers his own safety paramount, and feels that a weapon can protect him, but he doesn’t want the average American to have that same protection. The argument that can be made is “Well you can hire a bodyguard.” No, most of America can’t hire someone to watch over them 24 hours a day. It flies in the face of reason and logic to expect such a thing. We’re each responsible for our own personal safety. Since we cannot afford to hire armed guards...we arm ourselves. That is the very essence of the Second Amendment.

I sit, pajama-clad, corrected.

Schadenfreude moment of the day

This is petty, especially on such a historical day of reflection as the Inauguration of our President, but the speech just started and I have to attend a meeting during it so I'll have to watch it on VHS when I get home. Instead I present our Schadenfreude Moment of the Day.

Michael Moore's Bodyguard Arrested for Unregistered Handgun at Airport

NEW YORK — Filmmaker Michael Moore's (search) bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night.

Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident.

Moore's 2003 Oscar-winning film "Bowling for Columbine" criticizes what Moore calls America's "culture of fear" and its obsession with guns.

I remember when Rosie O'Donnell got caught in a similar faux pas as having an armed bodyguard after denouncing ALL guns to Tom Selleck on her show a couple years ago. Apparently guns are bad for everyone, except for the famous since their more important than you. To her credit, O'Donnell apologized and she scored major points with me after September 11th when she donated $1 million and encouraged everyone she knew to do the same rather than participate in the concert. I don't expect Moore to do anything like that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Late Friday Funnies...

Or maybe early?

I just found this from ChicagoBoyz; those JibJab fellers have a new Bush cartoon up. I think they were a little harder on W this time, since they tended to be a little more even-handed during the election. On the other hand, he won, so he's bound to be a bigger target.



To quote Dork Tower: The Force can have a strong influence on the geek-minded!

Darth Tater Bends My Will!

Thanks to Peter David for bringing this to my attention. My wallet now officially hates you, you darn good comics writer you!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Where is Gloria Steinem?

Haaretz - Israel News - Feminists outraged as B nai B rith Canada sides with Muslims on domestic law

According to the article, B'nai B'rith Canada (a Jewish Human Rights group) has filed a brief with the Canadian Court advocating allowing Canadian Muslims to privately adjudicate (non-criminal) disputes with legally binding Muslim courts that enforce Sharia law.

This whole thing smells fishy to me. While I certainly see no problem with private arbitration, I find a private, binding court system to be contrary to Western ideals of equal protection and application under the law. The article states that the Sharia court could not rule contrary to accepted Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights, I foresee this becoming essentially a shadow court system and a black market ruling system.

What can women expect the Sharia Courts to provide them?

"Under Sharia, male heirs receive almost double the inheritance of females. Alimony is limited to a period ranging from three months to one year, unless a woman was pregnant before she was divorced. Only men can initiate divorce proceedings, and fathers virtually always are awarded custody of any children who have reached puberty."

What is most surprising about this article isn't necessarily that hard-right muslims are trying to implement Sharia law in Canada (just as they are everywhere else). What's surprising is that this Jewish advocacy group is supporting it, and that Canada is seriously considering it.

"I'm not sure what a smart idea that was. Tradition should not be used as an excuse for limiting gender equality," Ester Reiter, a secular Jewish feminist and a professor of women's studies at Toronto's York University said.

B'nai B'rith supports this because they don't want to be forced to remove the Rabbinical Courts which apparently have a similar arrangement in Canada. However, the contradiction is that while there is an acknoeledged slight male bias in Rabbinical Court, Sharia Law is completely counter to Canada's avowed commitment to equal rights (regardless of the overly leftward lean of Canada's prominent policies). It essentially enslaves women to their male family members and husbands. It removes their personhood and relegates them to a life of ignorance and abuse. Regardless of one's personal ox (the existence of the Rabbinical Courts), how anyone can advocate allowing this is beyond me. Certainly if the Sharia courts become commonplace they can argue that the existence of the Rabbinical Courts is counter to the Sharian beliefs since, according to John Syrtash, the lawyer who wrote the brief, "If you're religious, then Jewish courts come down to us as the word of God," and that is clearly blasphemy in the Islamic faith.

It is dangerous to give an inch in this regard. It seems pretty reasonable to assume that Sharia can't be implemented in part. Its very definition requires that it be implemented in whole. This is the same appeasement strategy that gave hitler Czechoslovakia and Poland and was surprised by his invasion of France.

The feminist groups who are opposing the brief should be applauded and shouldn't be alone in this. Everyone who cares for the Western cultural model should be opposing this. It does no good to fight Islamist extremism abroad only to give Islamists a foothold in our own backyard. One can only hope that Canadians, who seem intent to follow the Dutch model, learn the terrible lessons of the consequences of extreme tolerance sooner than the Dutch did.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Dirty dirty geeks

NASA fired off a rocket today to intercept and strike a nearby (80 million miles away) comet on July 4th. It should provide all kinds of neat scientific data ranging from what makes up a comet to what matter was present just after the creation of the universe. The name: Deep Impact. The shape: distinctly phallic. No wonder people accuse the US of prick-waving.

Photo Source: AP

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami relief

I can't really say much about the Tsunami that hasn't already been said, but I did want to point out that the guys at Cox & Forkum (named, amazingly enough, Cox and Forkum) are auctioning off original art of their tsunami cartoon. The bidding is open and the bid is paid in the form of a donation to Direct Relief International. So far, bidding is only at $100.

Since almost no one who visits here comments (based on my hit-counter and haloscan comparisons - I need a new hobby), I have no idea who reads this blog and no clue as to who can afford what, but if you can spare some cash, head over there, get some cool art and help out the victims of this catastrophe.

As of this minute, there is a single bid, for $100. I hope someone can afford more than that...

Saturday, January 01, 2005

I don't get it...

On yesterday's New Year's Eve post, I received two comments telling the sad tale of a US Marine and his death. What the poster wants me to do about unexploded ordnance, I don't know. Perhaps I'm a welcome target because I supported the Iraq War? I'm not sure, nor do I care. The entire comment is non-sequitor to the post in question, but that isn't the part that I don't get. What I don't understand is why this person (who names himself The Count) decided to spoof Bill Whittle's email address and homepage. Apparently, whoever it was doesn't believe enough in his own message to post ral contact info. His IP shows him to be a resident of Greenville, SC (not where Bill Whittle lives). I just thought this was extremely bizarre. Especially since I have a friend who calls himself The Count (due to his predeliction for wearing a long black cape). I know this is not really post-worthy, but it struck me as odd. I almost never get comments so this kind of out-of-the-blue non-spam comment was interesting enough to me to post about.

UPDATE: I get it now. This guy is a Moore-On. Still, pretty cowardly way of going about this, not leaving any real contact info. Google search for "Jesus A Suarez del Solar Novaro" and "cluster bomb" reveals the Moore link and one for IPS (which Moore cites)here. Apparently someone has made it their life mission to distribute this story far and wide. *yawn*